When it comes to small and compact vehicles on the roads these days, those in the market looking to buy have safety on the top of their shopping lists, for sure.
Considering there doesn’t seem to be much to these little road runners, the brand new Renault Sandero Dynamique Turbo is currently the safest vehicle in its class.
When it comes to size and safety, the Sandero trumps its rivals; the Ford Figo, Toyota Etios and even the spunky little VW Polo Vivo. Boasting the likes of ABS, Emergency Brake Assist, the Electronic Stability Programme, and Hill Start Assist, the Renault Sandero is the only player to offer 3 X 3-point safety belts for all three rear passengers, ensuring that every pleasurable drive is a safe one.
This is comforting to know since, even though safety is a key focus this time around, so is comfort and performance. In the case of this little Sandero, Renault had decided to kit it out with F1 technology to reduce engine capacity and cylinders by adding a turbocharger, which is why we love this punchy little 66kW 3-cylinder turbo-charged engine, which offers driver confidence and outstanding fuel efficiency.
Clicking over to a lean average of 5.8l/100km on our mix of long road hauls and city driving stints, acceleration takes a little patience with 1-100km/h only coming in at 11.1 seconds. The revs really need to be driven all the way through the gears in order to reach its peak torque around the 1,600rpm mark, where it eventually delivers all the oomph you need. Top speed sees a healthy 175km/h.
In this regard, since the Sandero’s chassis is built on the Clio’s platform, the ride is slightly firmer than you would expect and this means that handling is actually pretty solid, despite the lack of weight behind the vehicle itself. The physical shifting through gears, however, feels a little choppy. Mostly noticeable between 1st and 2nd gear, it makes you cringe a little; it’s sort of a knock/clunk which, no matter how gently you try to shift gears, it’s just there. You come to get used to it though, and eventually don’t really notice it since it doesn’t physically affect the overall driving experience at all.
Another plus is that the feel within the Sandero is attractive. Leg room all around is there and, for a vehicle of this size, you don’t find yourself cramped or at a want for space at all. With regards to boot space, however, things are a little trimmer sitting at a measly 292 dm3; but, believe it or not, this still trumps the competition weighing in at 270 dm3 for the Volkswagen Polo Vivo, 284 dm3 for the Ford Figo and 251 dm3 for the Toyota Etios, all with the seats up and clipped in.
Connectivity within the car allows you to enjoy your tunes via Bluetooth, USB or AUX-in and sound isn’t too bad either. You’re not going to win any parking lot sound-offs, but it’s enough to turn it up and enjoy your early morning commute to work.
Other features to make your drive just that little more comfy are the standards; electric windows, power steering, remote central locking, convenient finger controls behind the steering wheel to activate and control your streaming music, telephone calls and cruise control found on the wheel itself.
In this segment, the Renault Sandero is one of the best options on the market currently.
It has everything you need and is incredibly fuel efficient no matter how conservative or enthusiastic your driving style. It’s punchy when it needs to be, comfortable, spacious and it gets the job done. As a woman driving both long distances and inner city driving, I was always keen to hop back into the Sandero to get where I needed to be. It’s fun to drive, easy to park and at a price of R 141 500 a pop, they’re going to fly out of dealerships so fast you’ll regret not being one of the first to roll the streets of South Africa in one of them. It’s an impressive deal all round.
Service plan: 2 years/30 000 km
Service intervals: 15 000 km